Selling a Home

If selling a home is the first step you need to take to realize a transition to a new lifestyle, I would like to offer some advice for the novice as well as the experienced home seller.

First things first. As in gourmet cooking, preparation is the key to a successful home sale. When I say “successful,” I mean a sale that is reasonably timely, close to your asking price, and not unduly complicated by buyer “punchlists” which have to be satisfied before the sale can go through. What buyers want to see, and what creates value in their minds, are well-maintained exteriors; bright, well-maintained, clean interiors; simplicity vs. clutter; fresh smelling interior air (e.g., lack of smoke smell); unstained carpets; and a comfortable temperature.

Here’s some tips on selling your home and a list of some easy things you can do to ensure your house puts its best image forward:

Minor repairs – Fix that broken tile in the bathroom; replace the light switch that doesn’t work; patch the drywall holes left from hanging Christmas decorations; patch the minor settling cracks around the windows. Replace those burned-out lightbulbs. Make sure the plumbing doesn’t leak.

Paint – Paint a lot with a neutral color (e.g., off-white). Paint covers many sins. New paint brightens rooms and generates a clean feeling. Tear down the “Hello Kitty” wallpaper in the youngest daughter’s room and slap on some fresh paint. Make your whole house as uniform and as neutral as possible.

Yardwork – Yep, it’s time to fix the broken steps; patch the driveway; paint the front door; trim the bushes; mow the lawn; and clip the hedges. First impressions count, and they count a lot! Don’t scare off your potential buyers with a shoddy-looking yard.

Clean Everything – Inside and out, clean the windows, gutters, downspouts, carpet, floors, tile, furniture. In other words, everything and the kitchen sink!
Major repairs – If the basement leaks, and it’s evident from the floor stains, you need to get this fixed. A basement that leaks is a major turnoff for buyers. Invest the time at least to get an estimate from a professional waterproofing basement company so you know what you’re dealing with. If the roof is into its last few years of life, consider replacing it. If the lawn is dead and/or weed infested, think about having it replaced with new grass or xeroscaped.

Major upgrades – The classic major upgrade, and often a winning strategy, is new kitchen cabinets and countertops. Just like yourself, a new buyer’s family will spend a major portion of their time in the kitchen. They are going to be looking for a modern, fresh look and new granite countertops, floor tile and wood cabinets will go a long way to update your home. The same consideration can be given to bathrooms. An updated bathroom, with lots of glass and mirrors, not to mention a fresh paint job may be a key to sale. Finish the basement? Of course it will add value, but will it add enough to cover the cost of finishing? Call me first!

If your house is dated, you will likely have to price it accordingly, except if you decide to do some major upgrades. However, before you invest major dollars into these projects, consult with me, I can give you some advice as to whether you’re going to get your money out of the upgrade when you go to sell your home.

How to Show Your Home

The first rule of showing your home is to have it sparkling clean. Yes, it takes quite an effort to keep it clean for a scheduled showing, much less an impromptu tour. Yet, the effort is always necessary, if you want to maximize your chances of a sale.

The second rule is to make yourself scarce. That goes for the critters too – except maybe the goldfish. You are going to sell your house. The house is going to sell itself, and you don’t need to be there cheerleading. If the showing agent needs any info, s/he will contact your agent later (maybe with an offer!)

Third rule – the only tempting thing that should be on display is a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies with a “help yourself” sign. Otherwise, money, jewelry, money, gold bars – put them away securely or take them with you. Okay, you can put out fresh flowers too.

And the fourth rule – make sure everything is bright and shiny. Open the drapes and curtains. Give the range one last polish. Check for sticky fingerprints on the fridge. Sink smell? Dump a box of baking soda and exit!

Should you try and save a dollar and sell it yourself?

As with all choices, there are pros and cons. The most obvious one is that with a self sale, you don’t have to pay a real estate agent a commission. Largely, it is a choice of how much risk you want to take on by being your own agent. If you have more of a bent to risk taking then, by all means, try selling your home by yourself. If you’re the more conservative type, particularly when you are dealing in a range of tens of thousands of dollars, then think again about what an agent can do for you that would be the cost of his/her commission.

Most important, your agent is your market expert. Is your house priced right? How much play do you have in the asking price? Are the comparable homes that have sold or are on the market right now moving quickly? What’s selling fast, what’s selling slow, and what’s not selling at all? And, most importantly, why?

Your agent is your chief advisor on all the recommendations listed above, plus more that didn’t make it to this page. S/he will be able to spot all those things that really should be brought out in a description of your home, and all the things that you should consider fixing or upgrading to maximize the value. And, of course, those things that maybe shouldn’t even be on the table because you can’t recover your investment in them. More than anything, your agent is your advocate. It is his/her job to present your home, talk it up to other agents, show it to prospective buyers, and handle all the paperwork and communications involved with negotiating the terms of sale. A trained, experienced agent is the most valuable representative you have in the whole sales transaction. And remember, the buyer, if s/he is smart, has their own, equally competent agent!

This may be one of the most important financial transactions in your life, and it pays to have quality expertise and advice on your side. The post-negotiation process is critical to ensure that you come through the transaction “clean.” You don’t want any loose ends, undotted “i’s,” uncrossed “t’s” or any other requirement left unaddressed, and possibly cloud the title or transaction. The settlement process involves a ton of paperwork, and both buyers and sellers are usually there, unless it is done by fax. Whether in person or remotely, you should have a professional real estate agent present to ensure things go smoothly, or that any last-minute problems are resolved so you can sell your home and move on to the next stage of your life.

Invest in Toronto Waterfront
Relocating to Toronto?
Is it the right time to sell?
Toronto Land Transfer Tax
Toronto Evolving Into a Dynamic Metropolis
The American Economy and Condo Pricing
Real Estate Remains a Strong Investment
New Condo Openings in 2008 Nearly Double That of 2007
Peter Street Condo - 2014 Occupancy
The Quartz Building - 2014 Occupancy
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Realty Inc. Brokerage
Independently Owned and Operated

Andrew Dawid

Sales Representative

(416) 917-0653

[email protected]

Invest in Toronto Waterfront - Real Estate Remains a Strong Investment - Relocating to Toronto - Toronto Land Transfer Tax
Toronto Evolving Into a Dynamic Metropolis - The American Economy and Condo Pricing - Buyers - Sellers
New Condo Openings in 2008 Nearly Double that of 2007
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